Sports and the supply chain – follow the hot team

Okay maybe this is not 100% about supply chain management, but it is an interesting case of event management and modelling signals. A recent airline issue made me think of the impact sporting events have on load balancing for airlines, hotels and other associated service providers. This all trickles down to their supply chain. For example: this weekend the Red Sox are traveling to Pittsburgh to play the Pirates. On a sporting level this appears to be a lopsided affair. The Red Sox payroll – $161m…Pirates $46m, almost 4x difference. Since the last time the Pirates made the playoffs – 1992 – the Pirates have…not had a winning season while the Red Sox have been perennial contenders, including 2 World Series Titles. So why is this important for your supply chain? The three game series this weekend in Pittsburgh will see a large uptick in travel from the East Coast to Pittsburgh, impacting air travel, hotels, road ways even rail.

Companies that touch associated business ventures need to keep this in mind for their planning and execution. Airlines will have to restructure some of their routing to accommodate the increase passenger load, hotels will have to price adjust since demand will spike, restaurants and retailers might need to increase their deliveries and inventory levels to meet potential demand. This economic impact is always highlighted when it comes to the big sporting events: Soccer’s World Cup or European Cup, the Winter and Summer Olympics, the Super Bowl to name a few. We cannot discount the similar impacts of “smaller” events such as the Red Sox playing the Pirates, or when Steeler fans travel, or Yankee games…just to name few.

Maybe companies should watch which teams have Grateful Dead like followings and adjust their supply chains accordingly


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